Please sign in to post.

Rome in 7 Days vs. Prague/Budapest in 8 days

Hi everybody,

I did something very stupid yesterday. After staying off this site for a couple of months (because whenever I log on, I am seized with the irrepressible desire to go on six different trips...;)), I took a quick peek at the "Tours on Sale" page and am now mulling over the above mentioned tours. Both are discounted for the week running up to Christmas and that combined with previous tour discounts....

Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts/experiences on these tours. I've been to Rome before, but that was 21 years ago and I was sick, wrecked by jet lag, and undone by a heatwave. I know we went to the Vatican and the Colosseum only because there is photographic evidence.

I've been to Prague more recently (and successfully), I love it and would love to go back. I've been trying to get to Budapest for years, but one thing or another has always gotten in the way. I'm comfortable traveling to all of these places by myself, but being a major history/art/food geek, I've never been disappointed with a RS tour and think I'd especially enjoy being introduced to Budapest and re-introduced to Rome in that way.

Also, if anyone has experience with these cities in the immediate run-up to Christmas, I'd be interested in hearing about that too. Extra crowds, closures, etc.?

Thanks!
Caroline

Posted by
7480 posts

I have no personal experience to offer on point to your quandary, but you could always just flip a coin :-)

As long as it does not land on edge, I see no 'bad' outcome

Posted by
1003 posts

Do the flight logistics and/or prices lean one way or another?

When I decided to sign up for one of the sale tours a few years ago the flight prices bough so close kind of cancelled the savings.

Posted by
1292 posts

I’ve been to all three but not in the winter. I love all three cities but Budapest is wonderful. I vote for Prague and Budapest!

Posted by
1943 posts

The adventurer in me would suggest going on the tour that takes you somewhere new, so Prague and Budapest. Though Christmas in Rome seems very magical!

The logic in me would suggest going on the tour with the best flights. Delta/Alitalia have a non-stop out of Dulles, but from Richmond it might not be such an obvious choice.

Posted by
1954 posts

I have been on the 7 Days in Rome tour and I can say from experience that it is a wonderful city. I went in the early spring so can’t say what it is like at Christmas.
If you are going for the Christmas markets, then I would say Prague Budapest is the tour for that. I have been to Prague but in June. I have read about the Christmas markets in both Prague and Budapest - they are spectacular according to the “best” Christmas markets in Europe list. So I think this is the tour for you.
Or, as someone mentioned, you could toss a coin.
I’m going on the Munich Salzburg Vienna tour for the Christmas markets so I can relate to your decision.
Enjoy whichever you choose.

Posted by
3892 posts

I've been in Prague and Budapest in January, and I just was in Rome (last week of October) I would enjoy winter type weather in Prague/Budapest more than in Rome. In Rome, it could likely be "coldish" and rainy while in Prague/Budapest I think you are more likely to get "real" winter, so snow. We had snow when we arrived to Budapest and it was magical.

We did the RS Rome tour. It was excellent. Rome was crowded and it was wonderful to have guides for all the sites and to have someone else worrying about the logistics. We traveled in Prague/Budapest on our own

EDITED TO ADD: I'm giving you a link to a current thread in which I described my tour as part of the discussion.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/only-rome-and-florence

Posted by
181 posts

Heads you win tails you win! WAs just in Budapest in September and it is awesome...….

Posted by
1146 posts

A few years back I took the Rome tour which started on xmas day. I remember most days were cloudy with some rain, but we did occasionally see the sun. We were blessed with a marvelous guide and I loved the tour. It seemed the majority of tourists were Italians visiting family. The day trip to Ostia Antica was a highlight, but I enjoyed every one of the days and I have since returned to Rome several times.

Posted by
202 posts

I have been to all three within the last two months, but never in the winter and not on a tour. That said, if I had to choose between the two choices, I'd go with Rome. To me, it is one of the most amazing cities in the world (although I really liked Budapest a lot and Prague, too, although to a lesser degree). But, I don't think you can go wrong with either choice.

Posted by
12383 posts

I love BUDAPEST, but for a RS tour i would do Rome. You will get more value out of a guided trip in Rome. Besides you have seen Prague before. Then next year a winter trip to Budapest. Any time after mid november so all the lights are up, the celebrations are going and Christmas is in full swing. You can do that without a tour and since you have been to Prague, I would do Vienna - Budapest or Budapest - Lviv or Budapest - Kyiv. All great for winter and surprisingly affordable.

Posted by
217 posts

Thanks, everybody, for the replies! Looking at the last-minute plane fares has somewhat dimmed my enthusiasm, but I haven't ruled it out yet. I may flip a coin after all!

Caroline

Posted by
12383 posts

You are worried about airfare and you are considering a RS tour? Okay, those tours are nearly $2600 with the single supplement. You should be able to get a flight to Budapest for under $1500 (maybe as cheap as $900 depending on where you live). A flat in the heart of the city will set you back $700. You are up to $2200. Spend $400 (MORE if your flight is under $1500) on tour guides and attractions and you are at the RS cost of $2600 with airfare included.

GO!!!! Enjoy!!!! EXPLORE!!!!

EDITED FOR CORRECT RS TOUR COST
And I can help you with things to see, do and getting around.

Posted by
3892 posts

I would think you could get very reasonable airfares if you could get to DC. Experiment with some different dates, airlines and locations. For example, when we just went to Italy, we ended up flying into zurich, which sounds a bit crazy, but for whatever reason, it was much less expensive and we had the extra time to make it work.

Posted by
6608 posts

We found that airfare at Christmas and New Years from the USA to Rome and London were quite high as were hotels and apartments.
As to which trip to take I vote for Rome. I visited Prague and Budapest years ago, enjoyed visiting them, but have no desire to return. I love Rome and will return as often as possible.